International athlete finds a home at Columbia College

10 months 1 week 6 days ago March 04, 2016 Mar 4, 2016 Friday, March 04 2016 Friday, March 04, 2016 5:08:00 PM CST in Sports
By: Nick Hehemann, KOMU 8 Sports Reporter
Embed Code Copied

COLUMBIA - For Martha Imoniana of the Columbia College Cougars women's basketball team, the length of a basketball court doesn't seem that far. She's traveled a whole lot farther. 

Imoniana, in her second year at Columbia College, is from Sao Paulo, Brazil.

"It had been for a while that I was trying to come play here in the U.S.," Imoniana said. "I knew how many opportunities I would get coming here."

She is just one of  27 international athletes that play at the school, but is the only one on the women's basketball team.

It didn't take long for her to fit in, though. Imoniana almost immediately became close friends with Petrolina Chilaka, a guard on the team. The two are now roommates.

"She's super goofy, super fun to be around, and she's so funny," Chilaka said. "She's a great addition to the team."

Columbia College Head Coach Jessica Keller said Imoniana is "a really enjoyable person."

"She knows she has a great opportunity here, and she's really taken full advantage of it," Keller said.

More than 5200 miles separate Imoniana from her hometown. Of all the differences that made the move a big culture shock, she noticed the weather first and foremost. 

"When it came to winter, it was so cold," Imoniana said. "I was not expecting that."

Imoniana spoke English in school growing up in Brazil, and said she has continued to improve with the language since moving to the United States. 

While her teammates and coaches have helped her adapt to the American lifestyle, Imoniana has also taught them about her own culture. 

Imoniana even got to show Keller a Brazilian restaurant while the two were in Kansas City.

"She was really the expert," Keller said. "She had a nice time laughing at me as I tried to pronounce the words."

Imoniana said, "She was doing kind of well, but, at the end of the lunch, she was speaking better Portuguese. It was fun to teach her."

The Cougars have taught each other a lot this year, both about culture and basketball. 

The team has a 27-4 overall record heading into its conference semifinal game Saturday, and Imoniana has played a big part as a regular starter at forward. 

Although many miles away from her parents, Imoniana's not that far from a family. She has one at Columbia College. 

"I've made so many memories here," Imoniana said. "The greatest part is my teammates."

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Almost 50 years after the death of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Columbia groups still... More >>
2 hours ago January 16, 2017 Jan 16, 2017 Monday, January 16 2017 Monday, January 16, 2017 10:08:00 PM CST in News
SUNRISE BEACH – Buying and selling personal property privately, such as furniture, clothes and cars, is commonplace in today’s world... More >>
3 hours ago January 16, 2017 Jan 16, 2017 Monday, January 16 2017 Monday, January 16, 2017 9:18:00 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is cutting $146 million of spending from the budget, including tens of... More >>
8 hours ago January 16, 2017 Jan 16, 2017 Monday, January 16 2017 Monday, January 16, 2017 4:13:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - After a budget resolution aimed at repealing Obamacare was reached Jan. 12, groups in Missouri plan to protest... More >>
10 hours ago January 16, 2017 Jan 16, 2017 Monday, January 16 2017 Monday, January 16, 2017 2:50:00 PM CST in News
CALIFORNIA (AP) - Central Missouri Democrats nominated an attorney who formerly worked for the Missouri Senate to run in a... More >>
10 hours ago January 16, 2017 Jan 16, 2017 Monday, January 16 2017 Monday, January 16, 2017 2:36:00 PM CST in News
HILLSBORO (AP) - The Missouri State Highway Patrol says a 28-year-old man died after a four-wheeler he was riding on... More >>
10 hours ago January 16, 2017 Jan 16, 2017 Monday, January 16 2017 Monday, January 16, 2017 2:09:00 PM CST in News
NICKELVILLE (AP) - A southwest Missouri county highway is expected to be closed until Thursday as crews clean up an... More >>
11 hours ago January 16, 2017 Jan 16, 2017 Monday, January 16 2017 Monday, January 16, 2017 2:02:00 PM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) - Police are investigating after a 34- year-old man was found dead outside a hospital in north... More >>
14 hours ago January 16, 2017 Jan 16, 2017 Monday, January 16 2017 Monday, January 16, 2017 10:51:00 AM CST in News
COLUMBIA - Cafe Berlin reopened Monday for brunch, after being closed following a destructive break-in. The break-in on Saturday night... More >>
14 hours ago January 16, 2017 Jan 16, 2017 Monday, January 16 2017 Monday, January 16, 2017 10:05:00 AM CST in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) - St. Louis' fortunes may be looking up, thanks to a surprising surge in business startups. ... More >>
15 hours ago January 16, 2017 Jan 16, 2017 Monday, January 16 2017 Monday, January 16, 2017 9:41:00 AM CST in News
COOPER COUNTY - Just before 5 a.m. Monday morning, the Cooper County Fire Protection District responded to a structure fire... More >>
16 hours ago January 16, 2017 Jan 16, 2017 Monday, January 16 2017 Monday, January 16, 2017 8:29:00 AM CST in Top Stories
CAMDEN COUNTY - Deputies took a suspect who stabbed three people Sunday into custody without incident. The suspect is awaiting... More >>
1 day ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 10:20:00 PM CST in Top Stories
BOONE COUNTY - The northbound lanes of Highway 63 near Hinton Road were closed after the engine compartment of a... More >>
1 day ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 9:49:07 PM CST in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft are hoping to expan d services to Missouri customers... More >>
1 day ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 7:50:00 PM CST in News
GRANBY (AP) — Anoth er Missouri school district is c onsidering whether to join 18 others that have adopted a... More >>
1 day ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 7:46:03 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA — Steven Hughes thought he found the perfect car for his family of five — until the title proving... More >>
1 day ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 4:59:00 PM CST in News
MARSHALL (AP) - Missouri authorities are searching for a suspected parole violator they say exchanged gunfire with a state trooper... More >>
1 day ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 4:27:00 PM CST in News
COLUMBIA - A break in at popular downtown restaurant Cafe Berlin forced the restaurant to close Sunday, according to a... More >>
1 day ago January 15, 2017 Jan 15, 2017 Sunday, January 15 2017 Sunday, January 15, 2017 2:19:00 PM CST in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 43°
1am 43°
2am 41°
3am 40°
4am 39°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

12:37a
Last Call with Carson Daly
1:07a
The Insider
1:37a
Paid Program
1:00a
Cheaters
1:30a
Seinfeld
2:00a
Paid Program

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Wall
8:00p
This Is Us
9:00p
Chicago Fire
7:00p
The Flash
8:00p
No Tomorrow
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld